Governor-General sees fight on eye disease

quentinThe Governor-General, Her Excellency Ms Quentin Bryce (pictured), will visit today two collaborative medical research programs dedicated to fighting eye disease that involve Flinders University.

During her visit to Flinders Medical Centre (FMC), the Governor-General will meet the programs’ lead researchers in her role as Patron of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO) Eye Foundation.

Associate Professor Jamie Craig, who last year discovered two genes linked to open angle glaucoma blindness, heads the Australian and New Zealand Registry of Advanced Glaucoma, which aims to establish the world’s largest registry of advanced glaucoma cases.

Associate Professor Craig said the registry will assist future research in identifying new glaucoma genes and risk profiles, contributing to early detection of glaucoma as well as treatment of the disease in its advanced stages.

In addition to funding from the RANZCO Eye Foundation, the registry is being supported by its project partners:  Flinders University’s Department of Genetic Pathology, FMC, the Royal Society for the Blind (SA), Glaucoma Australia, the Australian Genome Research Facility, and the Genetic Epidemiology Unit at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research.

The second research project is the Australian and New Zealand Ophthalmic Surveillance Unit, led by RANZCO Fellow Dr Richard Mills.

The unit is dedicated to documenting and sharing information on uncommon eye conditions, thereby guiding the national and international ophthalmic community towards appropriate prevention and resource allocation, Dr Mills said.

The project is supported by Flinders University and FMC, as well as the Centre for Clinical Eye Research at the National Health and Medical Research Council.

The Eye Foundation’s CEO, Ms Jacinta Spurrett, said the two projects are already saving people’s vision and benefiting patient’s lives through remarkable DNA research that aims to identify new genes linked to glaucoma and to shed further light on the causes, treatment and management of rare eye diseases.

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